Menahan Street Band
The Exciting Sounds of Menahan Street Band
It’s been a cruel double blow to Daptone Records – losing both Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley. For they were not only the voices but in a way the faces of the label; the front-people. And the bands behind them – The Dap Kings and Menahan Street Band – had released instrumental material in their lifetimes but have certainly seemed lost in the wake o their deaths. And understandably.
I was a fan of Jones, hugely. But never quite saw the appeal of Bradley. A belter that actually could not sing – but people loved him. And his sound. I thought it quite dreadful. And maybe that makes me the villain to say so – but I just never understood his appeal. At the same time I understand his loss.
Menahan’s job had been to make Bradley sound as good as they could and they certainly pulled out all the stops.
Here they return to instrumental grooves that feel like ready-built samples for modern R’n’B and rap. Here they return to tracing around the vibes from vintage Stax and Motown. And nearly a decade on from when they last released a record the vibe actually seems…lost.
I mean, it’s possible that Menahan actually turned a few people on to those killer Isaac Hayes records. And now a new generation has those at their fingertips you’d almost wonder why they need to hear this as well. That may seem cold – but listening to this I was struck with a school-reunion vibe. You can’t go back. You should never go back. You just can’t go back and have it feel the same way.